A Felt Sense: More Explorations of Psychoanalysis and Kabbalah

Author(s) : Michael Eigen

A Felt Sense: More Explorations of Psychoanalysis and Kabbalah

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : March 2014
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 128
  • Category :
  • Category 2 :
    Culture and Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 35047
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782201021
  • ISBN 10 : 1782201025

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This book picks up where Michael Eigen's previous work, Kabbalah and Psychoanalysis, left off. It is based on two expanded transcriptions of seminars given for the New York University Postdoctoral Program Contemplative Studies Project. As noted in the previous book, W. R. Bion once said that he uses the Kabbalah as a framework for psychoanalysis. This book enlarges the inner sense of this statement. The seminars depict intricate intertwining of processes in psychoanalysis and Kabbalah, processes important in helping us live more richly. Religious language helps bring out nuances of psychological states and psychology helps make the language of the spirit more meaningful to emotional concerns today.

Bion and Winnicott are the main psychoanalytic heroes of this work, each adding richness to a “root sense” out of which their clinical and written work grow. A felt sense, spans many dimensions, traversing sensory life, vital sensing, common sense, the sense of language, cultural sensing, intuition, Freud’s use of consciousness as a sense organ of psychical perception, and other qualities still unknown.

Case descriptions include extended work with an alcoholic man, opening new paths to living, and a detailed account of helping a creative, tormented woman die well. Aspects of psychosis, creativity, mysticism and everyday life blend and have a say. The main focus is psychic reality, with psychoanalysis and Kabbalah tools in this great enterprise of learning to work with ourselves.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘What a treat to read Eigen on psychoanalysis and Kabbalah. This is a work that opens us as we open to it. It speaks of many things we do not ordinarily have words for and in so doing enriches, deepens, and connects us to the mysteries of our own lives.’
— Mark Epstein, MD, author of The Trauma of Everyday Life and Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective

‘Every generation finds its language to refresh the faith that makes it possible to open the heart to the other, to the infinite beyond the impoverished smallness of mind of the grey everyday life filled with unsolved tensions and closed contrasts. The more I am exposed to the unique outlook of Michael Eigen concerning the sources of psychoanalysis and Judaism, and to the special way in which he expresses his ideas, I sense that Eigen is not only a sensitive psychoanalyst with immense knowledge, but that he is also endowed with an exceptional capacity to gently unravel complicated language-connections in order to open through it a peeping hole to the unified wonderful mystery, a mystery that encompasses even the daily moments heaped with these frustrating frictions and contrasts.’
— Admiel Kosman, poet, Professor for Jewish Studies in Potsdam University, the academic director of Geiger College, Berlin, and author of Gender and Dialogue in the Rabbinic Prism

‘Michael Eigen works and writes brilliantly along the boundary between psychoanalysis and mysticism, showing us how such things as an intuition of the infinite, faith in the unknown, and the experience of rupture and connection, identity and difference, and words and silence play critical roles in both the practice of Kabbalah and the process of psychotherapy. Eigen moves seamlessly across the borders of various psychoanalytic schools, embracing them, as well as the wisdom of multiple religious traditions, with the love and patience that he brings to the psychoanalytic encounter. He engages the Zohar in the same manner, patiently allowing its words to play on his and our psyches in new and creative ways. In the process, Eigen demonstrates how depth psychology and the Kabbalah are keys to entering into each other’s mysteries.’
— Sanford Drob, author of Kabbalistic Visions: C.G. Jung and Jewish Mysticism

‘This book is a very impressive extension of his exploration of Kabbalah and psychoanalysis begun in his previous work in a book of the same name. Kabbalah is the Jewish mystical tradition. Like Bakan, Yerushalami, and myself, Michael Eigen confirms that in many respects psychoanalysis is a form of secular Kabbalah. But he goes further by quoting Bion, Winnicott, Milner, and Khan, and a host of religious figures, to demonstrate that spirituality and faith are relevant, indeed essential, to analytic work. I found his discussion of his patient “Abe” particularly moving. Abe was a recovering alcoholic who suddenly fell into the deepest despair, and seemed to carry Eigen with him. Then, when all seemed lost, Abe had a moment of grace, when he felt a radiance growing and glowing all around him, a radiance that embraced not just himself, but people, nature, his whole inside and outside worlds. I highly recommend this beautiful psychological and spiritual study.’
— Joseph Berke, co-author of Centers of Power: The Convergence of Psychoanalysis and Kabbalah and Why I Hate You and You Hate Me: The Interplay of Envy, Greed, Jealousy and Narcissism in Everyday Life

About the Author(s)

Michael Eigen is a psychologist and psychoanalyst. He is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis at New York University (adjunct), and a Senior Member of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. He is the author of a number of books, including Toxic Nourishment, The Psychoanalytic Mystic, Feeling Matters and Flames from the Unconscious.

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